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The Public Option Fight Continues

John on October 5, 2009 at 7:48 am

From the Chicago Tribune:

President Barack Obama has long advocated a so-called public option, while at the same time repeatedly expressing openness to other ways to offer consumers a potentially more affordable alternative to health plans sold by private insurers.

But now, senior administration officials are holding private meetings almost daily at the Capitol with senior Democratic staff to discuss ways to include a version of the public plan in the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to bring to the Senate floor later this month, according to senior Democratic congressional aides.

Among those regularly in the meetings are Obama’s top health care adviser, Nancy-Ann DeParle, aides to Reid, and Senate finance and health committee staff, both of which developed health care bills.

At the same time, Obama has been reaching out personally to rank-and-file Senate Democrats, telephoning more than a dozen lawmakers in the last week to press the case for action.

Administration officials are also distributing talking points and employing other campaign-style devices to rally support for passing a bill this fall.

It’s funny how all this stuff circulates but no one ever bothers to post it online for people to see. In the days of limited column inches and page counts, I could maybe see a reason not to do so, but those days are gone.

Why not put the material online so we can see what the Administration is up to? Some of us outside Washington would be interested to learn the degree to which people appearing on our TV screens are part of an orchestrated campaign.

Obama is lavishing attention on moderate lawmakers while he continues to talk up the public option.

He has met repeatedly in private with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who has floated a proposal to allow states to set up government plans as a fallback if commercial insurers do not control premiums.

The president has also discussed health care at least three times recently with Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., one of the most outspoken Democratic critics of the public option.

I hope voters will also lavish some attention on Senators Snowe and Nelson.

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Category: Health & Education |

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